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Friday, July 4, 2014

Wildly inappropriate comments

The NY Post ran an article, "Dad was sexting teen while baby baked in car," yesterday.

When the story first broke about how Justin Ross Harris had left his 22-month-old son strapped into the back seat of a car on a sweltering day a couple weeks ago, everyone assumed it had been an accident.

Evidence soon emerged that Harris had intentionally killed his son. Harris had returned to the car to put something in it during the course of the day. And he had visited websites which advocated not having children as well as other websites giving advice on surviving in prison.

Even more damningly, Harris had taken out two life insurance policies on his son, one for $2000 and the other for $25,000. (Why would someone buy life insurance on a 2-year-old?)

All of this not only establishes Harris's guilt, but his sociopathy as well: obviously, no one but a sociopath would be capable of such a heinous crime.

The most chilling part of the article was the description of Harris's behavior right after his son died:

During police questioning, Stoddard said Harris, a former 911 dispatcher, showed no emotion. He made odd statements while in custody, like “I can’t believe this is happening to me” and “I’ll be charged with a felony” and talked about losing his job, according to Stoddard.

Sociopaths occasionally give themselves away with these types of wildly inappropriate comments. At a time when a normal person would be beside himself with grief, a sociopath will remain weirdly self-centered.

The story reminded me of the behavior of Diane Downs, the notorious murderess who had shot her three children in the back seat of her car 1980. When the police arrived at the scene, Downs, who initially blamed a "bushy-haired stranger" for the shootings, asked them if they thought the bullet holes in the rear seat could be repaired.

Most people don't fully grasp the utter inhumanity of a sociopath. They think that sociopaths are like the rest of us, but a little worse. Not true. They are utterly remorseless, utterly without affection, and utterly without shame.

Note the keyword: utterly.

Most people imagine sociopaths as agonizing over a moral quandary, but then doing the wrong thing anyway. It's not like that. There is no agonizing.

Most people don't fully fathom what it's like to be completely without conscience. Those people should be educated about Justin Harris, and ponder the mindset of one who can kill his own child and then be annoyed that "this is happening to me."

Having said that, most sociopaths obviously don't murder their own children. In fact, most stick up for their own children in an aggressive, shameless sort of way. But never doubt that all sociopaths feel the same way about you that Harris felt about his son. If you're in their way, they would feel absolutely no compunctions at all about getting you out of their way.

Most won't murder you, since they don't want the attendant hassle, and the risk of going to jail. But it's only the fear of consequences that keeps them from doing so.

(Harris and his son Cooper)

Here's hoping Harris's fellow inmates find out exactly what his crime was.  


Steven said...

He can't have been very intelligent. It was so obvious that he was going to get caught. 1) websites. 2) life insurance policy, guaranteed to raise suspicion.

If you are doing any shit, don't leave computerized evidence. Use a proxy, go to a web cafe via an unusual route.

A while ago there was this story on the local news about a man who saved his parents when their car went into a canal. He was sitting next to his father on the sofa, happy family, telling the story of how he had saved them. I thought it was nice how he loved his dad or something like that.

A couple of months later it was on the news that it was a botched murder attempt. He put them in the canal in the first place, then had to save them for some reason. It was the parents who became suspicious.

Steven said...

I think you will find this article about Amanda Knox interesting:

Amanda Knox is an ice maiden says prison guard.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Wow, that's an amazing account of Amanda Knox's behavior. For some reason I was never all that interested in her trial, never had a strong opinion about it one way or another. But reading this account, which makes it clear she's a sociopath, makes me think she was probably guilty. All the Americans who thought she was innocent fell for her attractive serene feminine face and crocodile tears.

Agreed, Harris was not smart. He left a very clear trail.

The fellow who "saved" his parents had to have been a sociopath too. He probably enjoyed playing the role of "hero" immensely while the media's attention was initially on him.

Thanks for sending that link about Knox, that was fascinating.

Steven said...

yeah I found it fascinating. I couldn't help but still find her attractive. That could be the power of looks to influence a guy.

Pavonine99 said...

Apparently the child's mother was in on it too. That makes me wonder about her, but I don't know if two sociopaths would get together -too much work for both. Maybe if one was clearly more dominant? What do you think?

John Craig said...

Pavonine --
I hadn't heard that. You're right, usually two sociopaths don't get along; each wants a pliable partner he can manipulate and dominate. My guess is that that Harris dominated his wife, who was under his thumb/spell and just went along. But I know nothing about her, so can't give an informed opinion.

Anonymous said...

John, I've been following the Amanda Knox case very carefully and I most certainly do not think she's in any way sociopathic, or even guilty. She has been railroaded by Italian police. The reason why is clear: the actual murderer of Miss Kercher, Rudy Guede, was caught stealing in Milan a week before the murder. He was arrested, but the Perugian police (where he lived) asked the Milanese police to let him go, clearly because he was an informant. A week later he broke into Knox/Kercher's house and killed Miss Kercher. The police had to cover their tracks here, since their mistake in letting Guede go means they would then be in trouble. This is where Knox - who was in no way friends with Guede - comes in. They framed her so that journalists would be busy focusing on her, and ignoring the way the corrupt police let Guede go. Guede was eventually arrested after fleeing to Germany days after the murder, with cuts all over his hand. Knox, on the other hand, stayed in Italy to help the police with their investigation (despite her mother begging her to fly home), during which time she contacted neither a lawyer nor the US embassy because she didn't realise she would be framed.

I've read the article where the prison guard talks about Knox's behaviour. Look at what the guard is *not* saying, not what he is. He is not accusing her of violence, or breaking prison rules, or anything else like that. All he's accusing her of is not showing enough emotion, which can be explained by cultural differences insofar as Italians are expected to grieve very publicly in a way that would be frowned upon in the US.

A former FBI Agent Steve Moore wrote an essay, 'The Mountain of Missing Evidence' about Amanda Knox, if you're interested:

- Gethin

Anonymous said...

(The FBI Agent link I just posted specifically mentions sociopathy in relation to Amanda Knox)

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Just finished the FBI agent's report, and re-read the prison guard's report. OK, this is going to make me sound like a flake, but I'm now convinced of her innocence. (Yes, I'm flip-flopping; as I said, I never followed the case when it was happening.)

The FBI agent was very convincing, his analysis of the forensic evidence was thorough and made sense. I also just re-read the article from the Guardian that Steven sent, and while some of it could be interpreted as a cultural difference, some of it still made Knox sound like a sociopath. The bit about her being a manipulative actress, for instance, made her sound like one. And the part about how she left after four years without saying good-bye to a single other inmate made her sound, at the very least, awfully cold. So there are two possibilities here: one is that she is a sociopath who happened not to commit this particular crime. The second is that the prison guard -- who may have been influenced by the Perugian police somehow -- was lying. The latter seems more likely, but who knows. I suppose it's possible that the prison warden herself is a sociopath, that's certain a job which you would expect to attract a certain number of sociopaths. I just don't know.

Anonymous said...

I first heard about this case on CNN and wasn't sure what to think either. I initially thought "innocent until proven guilty, and all that, but if she didn't do it then who else did?". Then I heard of Rudy Guede, who is basically being ignored by the media, and about his long history of criminality and his lack of friendship with Knox. It doesn't make sense that an A-grade student with no history of violence would team up with someone like him, especially when she barely spoke Italian and he couldn't speak English. Also, the chief prosecutor in this case, Guilano Mignini, is himself a criminal: he's been convicted of abuse of office (he wouldn't have been allowed to carry on practicing in either the US or UK, so the Italian system is really messed up). Mignini would have had a motive to frame Knox: so as to absolve the police of blame for letting Guede go days before the murder.

I guess there's several reasons why Knox wasn't very sociable in prison. It might be that her Italian wasn't very good, that she was homesick, that she was scared of the other inmates, etc. I doubt sociopathy would cause anyone to voluntarily isolate themselves, as sociopaths are generally very social. The prison guard said she was constantly reading all the time, treating the place "like a univeristy". IME, sociopaths are rarely studious: the ones I've met are good at making themselves seem more knowledgeable than they actually are, but they're never constantly reading. They're very prone to boredom and need constant stimulation; I doubt many of them would settle for a regimented life of daily study and hardly any socialising.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
It does sound like a huge miscarriage.

I certianly woldn't accuse anyone of sociopathy for being a loner, and the reasons you cite are all good. What I was referring to was her being a "manipulative actress," which smells far more of sociopathy. Of course, the prison warden could also have been in cahoots with Mignini, and thus made that part up, who knows.

I agree with you that sociopaths are rarely studious. They need more excitement than that provided by a well written paragraph, and yes, most sociopaths would be out among the prisoners, seeing who the potential marks are.

Hbomb said...

Amanda Knox IS guilty and I definately think she's a sociopath. You guys have fallen prey to the Friends of Amanda Propaganda. It's everywhere in the US, you must check more reliable sources that don't just get their info from this PR machine. I don't even have time to go through all the staggering evidence, DNA and circumstantial that they have against her. Instead if trusting other people to form your opinion you could read the Massei Report translated from Italian on and form an unbiased opinion. This document simply outlines how the court came to their most recent ruling and it's pretty detailed. She needs to be extradited so there can be justice for the Kercher family. Totally guilty!

John Craig said...

Hbomb --
I can't going back and forth on my opinion on this; all i can say is, different accounts paint different pictures, I never followed the trail when it happened and I don't have any firsthand feel for her personality.